COLUMN: Happy Halloween to Happy Holidays: Where’s Thanksgiving?
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I think we can all agree that the Thanksgiving is no longer a main holiday in the retail world. We begin summer with beach themed items, move on to Fourth of July, then Back to School, jump to Halloween, bypass Thanksgiving and head straight to Christmas.
We go from Trick-or-Treat to Deck the Halls, and from screaming “Boo!” to singing Noel. Now, I love Christmas as much as the next person, but I think our retail patterns are seriously broken. It was until 1973, according to Don K. Ferguson, that stores started opening up on Sunday and never opened on major holidays.
However, we have taken control and showed businesses that we “need” everything to be open 365 days a year almost 24/7. What does this say about us?
We are a greedy, instant gratification culture. We see things, we want things and then we get those things. We place a huge emphasis on how we look, what we own and who is worse off than us. Maybe that is the reason we run straight to Christmas instead of stopping for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is sometimes the one day of the year when people settle down as a family for turkey, games and conversation. During Thanksgiving, we are forced to pause in our day and say, “Thank you,” or “I am thankful for…” If we spent more time focusing on each other and sharing when we feel most thankful, we might not have this dilemma of greed. At our very core we want to help others, but that innate part of us can become smaller and smaller as we let the material things take us over.
How many times have you heard a small child cry because he or she did not get exactly what they want? How often have we looked at another person in jealousy over what they have?
For me, it’s fairly often. I find it way easier to look at what others have instead of enjoying what I currently own. I do not need the latest and greatest: I want it.
But my wants and desires are not who I call when I’m having a bad day. I call my mom or friends. Material things can only last us so long before we realize that we are alone. We can have all of the physical things, but do we have the conversations that nourish our souls? Do we have people who will stand by us?
This is our culture of rush and want. The good news is that we can change it. We need to start pausing and remembering what it means to be thankful. We can stop buying things on Sunday, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
The only way to keep Christmas in December and leave room for Thanksgiving is if we start shopping the way we can talk. I have worked Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s. Stores would not be open if there was not a business for it.
Let’s start with giving Thanksgiving the time it needs in our world to remind us that it is okay to stop and just say, “I am thankful for you in my life.”
When are you most grateful?
How do you show it?